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American Handgunner Nov/Dec 2010 - Page 30
J.D. Jones HANDGUNHUNTING TIPS, TECHNIQUES AND POLITICALINCORRECTNESS Sheep Shenanigans J.D. with his hard-won Desert Argali Ram. Yes, it’s nighttime. Five guys and 300 pounds of sheep. It laid on its back on their laps for the 12-hour ride back to camp. The ubiquitous desert transportation in the Gobi, a Russian “jeep” type vehicle. he Gobi desert is a wild untamed beautiful place, if you like sand and rocks. In the part of it I was in, there was very little vegetation. Scrub grasses were as close as it came. Extremes of temperature ranges equal anyplace in the world. Occasionally rocks that “exploded” under the stress of temperature were found. Envision a pile of rock as a bull’seye, and then, in a circle around it, lie the shattered fragments of what once had been a boulder. Definitely missing were the great sunrises and sunsets found in many other desert areas; I didn’t even see one. Our guides had something going with the rocks, and it probably was some sort of religious or superstitious thing. It seemed they worshipped rocks. Each morning they consulted the rocks by throwing T 42 of them, like throwing dice, and “read” the rocks. If the rocks said you were going to have a crap day, believe me, they made it happen. Occasionally, we would come across a “shrine” built of rocks where travelers left gifts to the gods. Now, .375 JDJ rounds adorn many of them. There were also a lot of Russian-manufactured steel case .300 H&H empty cartridges too. I assume someone in a “Help me get the hell out of here” mood originally built the shrines. Transportation was by Russian jeep, a 4-cylinder, 4-wheel-drive bare-bones simple, small, uncomfortable tough military vehicle. Can you say no springs? Shoot Now! L A Beautiful Rock ow-and-behold, there were sheep feeding in the cedar-like bush in the bottom of the wash. We could only get glimpses of them, so followed along. Horns were big, but there was no chance for a shot. The afternoon turned to evening and then darkness, with a full moon coming up in our face, illuminating the desert quite brightly. We laid on the edge of a ditch while watching the sheep feeding in the wash. Tiny, rapid footsteps sounded and a fox jumped over the interpreter and onto my back getting the surprise of his life and, panic stricken, ran into the wash scaring the sheep into flight. Both rams nosily fled the wash and headed straight across the flat gray sand in front of us. The interpreter was watching through binoculars and said, “shoot! shoot!” “Which one?” I asked, urgently. “The second, shoot now!” The rams were silhouetted with the full moon behind them about 75 to 100 yards away. Each sheep I had previously seen stopped in flight to look back. I waited — they stopped facing us and looked to their right to see what had spooked them. The crosshair looked perfect in the moonlight — until I put it on the ram. I centered as best I could and squeezed. Sand blew, and a dust cloud followed the running ram while the interpreter yelled to shoot again. I knew my shot was good, so I didn’t. The running ram went uphill away from us, and when it was certain only one dust trail was there, the hangover was forgotten and a yell of happiness echoed over the desert. Yet, we couldn’t find my ram. Turned out he was standing on the edge of an 8' ditch and at impact had simply collapsed, falling into it, and was hidden in the shadows. 30 fter days of hunting unproductively and surA viving on the MREs I took along, we finally arrived at a hill overlooking a glacial valley with a strip of green vegetation in its bottom. I wanted to hunt it. Interpreter, driver and guide said no. When all else fails, rely on friendship. I informed them I was going to take the jeep and hunt the area. Since they would not go and I was uncertain of coming back that way rather than letting my friends die of thirst in the desert, I would be merciful and shoot them before I left. We all decided to go. Across the valley we stopped on a high spot. The driver and guide left to scout. The interpreter was still throwing up from his last drunk. I found a beautiful rock about grapefruit size. I told the interpreter it was the most beautiful rock I had ever seen and I wished I could take it home with me, but alas, it was too heavy. So I would make it a gift to him. He very graciously accepted and told me he would polish it and place it on his fireplace mantle in a place of honor and always remember me. Amazing what excessive alcohol does to the brain. He carried it all the way back to Ulan Bator in his lap. * Serious desert: The Gobi. WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • NOVEMBER/DECEMBER2010